By now, we have become almost used to a steady stream of inaccurate statements from the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Most are not worth correcting. However, Donald Trump’s recent comments on the federal government’s unemployment data, so reminiscent of those made a few years ago by former General Electric chief Jack Welch, deserve a rejoinder. (He called today’s report that employers added just 38,000 jobs “terrible” — but only if you ignore the 35,000 striking Verizon workers. Still, 73,000 new jobs is pretty meh.)
The New York Post’s John Crudele last week interviewed Trump, who said he thinks the jobless rate is close to 20 percent and not the roughly 5 percent reported by the Labor Department. And, of course, Crudele reported, anyone who buys the 5 percent figure is a “dummy,” according to Trump.
This, in a nutshell, is typical of the usual economic conspiracy theories we have discussed in the past; it is obvious political bias corrupting economic analysis. It plays upon people’s recent post-traumatic stress from the financial crisis first and exploits their anxiety about the future. It also reveals deep ignorance about how employment data is assembled.
Like much demagoguery, it oversimplifies. This much is true: The employment data is complex. The average layperson with little or no economic background is likely to find it confusing.
Continues at: Trump Finds Cooking in the Unemployment Numbers